Saturday, October 31, 2009

Good Moms Don’t Get Sick

A mom’s world doesn’t stop

because she gets a cough.

There are no sick days

and she still has to function in the midst of the haze.


If Mom has a scratchy, itchy sore throat

there simply is no time to dote.

If her body feels like its full of lead,

She still has to pull herself out of bed.


Her body may be burning with fever

but that doesn’t really matter either.


The family still wants breakfast

and dirties lots of clothes,

school papers need to be signed

there are missing socks and shoes to find.

Diapers get soggy

even when if she’s feeling groggy.


When Mom is sick

the very foundations of the earth start to crack and split.


Sometimes a husband might try to help

by letting her “rest”

and proceed to go outside and run the loudest piece of equipment they own

outside of her room, all she can hear is it’s drone.


The kids were told to be quiet

and find something to do

which lasted a second

before they broke into a riot

and it was as loud as a zoo.


A good mom always has everything under control

like teaching Sunday School,

going to parties,  and making lunches

because she loves her family bunches.


Good moms may not get sick

but real ones do.


Real moms sometimes have to stay in pajamas

and lay low.

Real moms sometimes must back out of things

and say no.


Real moms sometimes wrap themselves in a blanket on the couch,

stay home and cuddle and watch some TV,

read books and go to bed early.


And I’ve heard that some real moms sort of enjoy

the slower pace that sickness brings.

Giving them time to focus on the really important things

That “good” moms sometimes forget to take time

in the midst of the pressures and craziness in life.

Is it important to do all that stuff?

And hustle and bustle and leave in a huff?


When a real mom gets sick or her kids get the flu,

though her head may feel thick with mucous and goo,

a light bulb goes on and she realizes it fine

to slow down and relax and just take some time.


A real mom tries to remember when everyone is back to feeling fine

the lessons the sickness taught about time.

The family must return to busy days

but remembering might help her rethink some of her ways.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Selfish Grace

Earlier this fall I was dealing with a situation that was really bugging me. Someone who we pay to provide us with a service is continually changing her schedule which in turn changes mine.   I don’t like that.  There are times when people step on my toes, inconvenience me, deceive me and it really gets under my skin.  Especially because I try to be considerate of people and their feelings.  Why aren’t people considerate back?  I get all frustrated and go into profuse detail about how inconvenienced I am.  I get angry that my rights and feelings aren’t first in other people’s plans.

I was ranting to Mike about this specific situation one night. My husband asked me why I couldn’t be gracious.  I obviously could not because she wasn’t being gracious to me!  And I stomped my foot.  He raised his eyebrow and I knew he was right.  That’s not exactly how grace works.  It’s not a bargain or a political strategy. 

Grace is undeserved favor.  God is quite literally the king of Grace.  He sacrificed everything to save me.  I really can’t imagine anyone else on this earth in need of more grace than me.  I am quick tempered and passionate, for I am a natural red head!  I want things done the right way – my way, right away.

So if God shows grace to me in all my imperfection,  is it really too much for me to show grace to someone that keeps changing their schedule?  Is it really a big deal to readjust my life a little or a lot?  Is my schedule more important this person and our relationship?  Absolutely not.

Grace doesn’t entail being a doormat.  I’m learning that grace doesn’t mean never stating your case.  It doesn’t mean biting your tongue and smiling demurely through gritted teeth. I calmly explained our needs and view of the situation.  Now we are on the same page and things are worked out.  But usually, I can flex. I was able to let God take care of the annoyance and anger and replace it with love.

As I watch my kids grow and learn to interact and deal with others, I want them to have a good grasp of grace.  Not just being kind, not just doing the right thing, but choosing to be gracious because of the graciousness of God.  They are not going to learn it naturally in this world (or from their mother unfortunately).  People here would rather hate members of their own family than back down.  Is that any way to live?

This week I had to make a quick call to this person. It was so great to have no tension or animosity between us.  I’m not a slave to my negative feelings about her. It was freeing to ask “how are you doing?” and actually care.  It’s not demeaning, it’s liberating.  When grace reigns, freedom prevails. 


Titus 2:11-14

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.


Ephesians 2:8-10

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Destroyed Beauty

Winter is creeping in on fall early this year. We’ve had some snow flakes and dustings of snow. When you live where it is winter eight months out of the year, it is not appreciated. It’s like throwing in an extra month of pregnancy at the end. No big deal, right? Ha!

I went jogging last week. I was attempting to think grand, glorious and deep thoughts which happens when I finally get alone after weeks of being with kids. I seemed to be on the verge of a very brilliant epiphany. It was so beautiful on the trail I was running on. The leaves were crunching under my feet and fluffy snowflakes were falling. *Cue music.

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Then I bent over and had to take a huge inhale because I was about to die resulting in snorting a snowflake up my nose. I've lived in Minnesota all my life and have never done that. The moment was kind of ruined. It was ruined because I haven’t been running consistently. I’ve been…busy.

Last summer I ran a 5K and today I can run for about 5 seconds before collapsing. I used to be able to tell that my stomach muscles were getting stronger and helping me run better. But I guess when you stop doing Pilates and those darn ball exercises the the effects go in reverse, double time.

Why did I quit? Oh I have lots of reasons, some are very legitimate like: the kids have been sick, it gets dark early and doesn’t get light early enough, it’s too cold and hard to take the girls, Mike has been gone at football way too late and I’m too cheap to buy a treadmill. All good reasons right? No,the real answer is I’m lazy and undisciplined. There are times I could run, days that aren’t cold. I have exercise videos I could do. I have warm clothes.

My lack of discipline ruined that great, beautiful moment on the trail. I was all frustrated at being out of shape and kicking myself for not doing better.

Lack of discipline and laziness ruin lots of potential good moments in my life. I really don’t have time to read the Bible or pray. I’m busy. I’ve got stuff to do. That’s silly right? I’ve got the time, I just don’t do it. I mean, I know Jesus sacrificed his life and all to forgive my sins and give me a future but it’s just a bit much for me to get out of bed a little early, turn off the TV or computer, put down the phone, get out of the kitchen and be with Him.

It plays out as moments of anger instead of patience, a sharp word instead of encouragement, being down on myself instead of trusting in His power, a critical spirit instead of a spirit of love, selfishness when I should be meeting the needs of others and worshipping the great “me” instead of Him.

When I’m out of sync with Christ I’m just gasping for breath and not living in His strength. I want to, but I am unwilling to pay the price or put in the time. The stakes are way higher than just being out of shape.

So before I pass out on the trail, I’ve got to get help from the power of His word and rely on His Spirit. He’s already finished the work. The only way I’ll be able to live moments of beauty for His glory is to give Him time and opportunity in my heart and life.

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2 Peter 1:3-8

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 6:11-12

We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

Psalm 119:9-11

How can a young man keep his way pure?

By living according to your word.

I seek you with all my heart;

do not let me stray from your commands,

I have hidden your word in my heart

that I might not sin against you.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I may have mentioned before that I have the best Grandparents in the world.

I was digging through my keepsake stuff today looking for some information for Grant's school project. I found a book called Grandmother Remembers Family Recipes. I had given it to my Grandma for Christmas a while ago. She gave it back to me the next year. In true form she had filled it out with great love and care. There are pictures and stories that go along with the recipes.

But one page caught my eye tonight. She pasted a half sheet of paper that looks like it is clipped from a Barbara Johnson Newsletter. This is what it said.

Love: A Variation on a Theme

If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place, but have not love, I am a housekeeper - not a homemaker.

If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements, but have not love, my children learn cleanliness - not godliness.

Love leaves the dust in search of a child's laugh. Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window.

Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.

Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.

Love is present through trials.

Love reprimands, reproves, and is responsive.

Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, runs with the child, then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood.

Before I became a mother I took glory in my house of perfection. Now I glory in God's perfection of my child.

As a mother there is much I must teach my child, but the greatest of all is love.

I Corinthians 13:1-7
f I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Appreciate My Pastor

October is Pastor Appreciation Month.  Since I have an up close and personal view of a Pastor’s life, I was reminded in the last few weeks just how much I do appreciate my pastor.


He has been preaching through some difficult portions of scripture on submission and gender roles.  Because our culture sends the opposite message, it’s a tough road to travel.  He has done a great job teaching what the Bible has to say about it all.


He was invited to offer Biblical hope and forgiveness to a group that had no place for God.  He was heartbroken for them while I was annoyed.  He prayed for them.  He prayed about what to share the next day.  We saw God really work in hearts and thankfulness for what he shared.  No matter what the response is, Pastors keep sharing Jesus and his love.


It’s not easy being a messenger of a God that many people don’t believe in, and a teacher of a book that many people feel isn’t true.  I was just reading about a pastor that is standing for Biblical truth and under great attack.  He’s being called nasty names.  It’s not as easy as it may look from the outside.


I’ve talked before about the difficult things pastors face here, like comforting grieving families. But the suffering aspect comes as a shock because this is America.  We have our rights.  We are free.  We are tolerant.  But Jesus tells us in the Bible to expect to suffer for his name.

Matthew 10:22

All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Mark 8:34-36

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”

We always feel encouraged and appreciated at our church.  They are a gracious, loving and sort of unruly bunch and we love them.  Last weekend while we were gone they put on a new deck, painted the stairway and cleaned our carpet!  But not all pastors have that kind of support.  Sometimes when I hear of the way things are in other churches I realize how blessed we are to be with such a gracious group of people.


I heard the Pastor at my home church this summer.  I haven’t heard him preach in a long time and he’s still got it.  His wife is still sitting in the front row.  When I went to college, I visited all the up and coming churches in the area but stuck with my church because of Pastor Rich’s biblical preaching.  I am going to send him a note of encouragement this month.

We have a lot of pastor friends that are serving in difficult places.  I can be used to encourage them.

As I encourage the pastors around me, would you do the same?  They have a calling that is a joy but can be very difficult and perilous too.  Find a way to send a pastor you know some encouragement and appreciation this month and then keep it up.  October is almost over, but they need our encouragement year round. 


Acts 5:41

The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.